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Author's Chapter Notes:
Written for: Kezya for Yuletide 2006
Megan dreams--

of blood on her tongue and thick in the back of her throat,

of colours in the woods, green leaves transforming to yellow, orange, and red,

of little girls in hooded cloaks and the stories people tell of them,

of four legs and a tail, and ears which hear so far, and a banquet of scents with every breath, her tongue lolled out after a run, her entire world folded down into fur and skin and the heat of fresh meat,

of the pile after a hunt, and the way they go to sleep as wolves and wake up something else, something slower and gawkier and just plain less,

--in fits and spurts, just like she sleeps. When the others are gone on a hunt, and she is left as bait-betrayer, she doesn't get much rest. There aren't enough noises in the house, no snufflings or snores or bodies crashing against walls when a dominance play-fight gets too rough.

She used to see the world--

in photographs, framed images,

in the detritus after a predator was done, the leftovers, undigested bits,

in the fall of light across shadow, and the way the leaves patterned the ground.

in full colour, bright and shiny and new in her memories,

in a blur so subtle she never noticed she couldn't see the details until she finally could,

--in black and white, right and wrong, but now there are only shades of gray.

She can pick out striations in the dirt at a hundred yards and distinguish between a thousand different greys in less time than it takes to launch herself into the air and fasten her teeth around a throat.

She plucks sinew from between her teeth, runs film from the camera to the reel in the darkness, her eyes wide open, and counts the exposures on the negatives like the final heartbeats in a dying man.

She can read the life of a predator in its bones, nest, scat deposits, and knows, now, the heat and the heartbeat of the forest, and the way the trees bend around their bodies, let them slip from shadow to shade without breaking into the light.

Bones dangle from her lips, clack together between her fingertips, an animalistic Morse code of the predator, the prey, and the great hunt in between. She writhes with anticipation as the wolves come near, driving dinner before them, her family, coming home.

Megan dreams, not of being human again, but only of the wolf.

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